Saturday, January 27, 2018

Book Review: The Immortalists

Author: Chloe Benjamin
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.

“In New York, he would live for them, but in San Francisco, he could live for himself. And though he does not like to think about it, though he in fact avoids the subject pathologically, he allows himself to think it now: What if the woman on Hester Street is right, and the next few years are his last? The mere thought turns his life a different color; it makes everything feel urgent, glittering, precious.” 

“He believes in bad choices; he believes in bad luck. And yet the memory of the woman on Hester Street is like a miniscule needle in his stomach, something he swallowed long ago and which floats, undetectable, except for moments when he moves a certain way and feels a prick.” 

“Klara has always known she’s meant to be a bridge: between reality and illusion, the present and the past, this world and the next. She just has to figure out how.”

I dare you to put this book down. I am a sucker for stories about families: estranged families, families with ten million issues, families that love and care for one another, etc. This book had a little bit of all of this – and the premise behind this book was AMAZING! I mean, who comes up with this stuff? Talented writers – that’s who! The story starts with our four main characters visiting an infamous fortune teller rumored to be able to tell you the exact day and year you will die. Each of the Gold siblings visits this fortune teller and leaves knowing the day they are doomed to die. The remainder of the novel follows each of them on their journeys through life and depicts how they each live until they reach their death day. The writing is magical and will enthrall you to keep reading.

The novel is broken up into four parts – following each of the four Gold siblings. We get a small glance into what each of their lives has become and follow them up until they die. I was completely obsessed with Simon and Klara. They were my favorite of the four siblings and their chapters are first in the book. If you are a lover of character driven book, then The Immortalists is definitely for you. The novel will also make you question your view of death and possibly the meaning of life. Most of the book is heartbreaking and you will feel sympathy/empathy for these characters as you read. I have never read Chloe Benjamin before, but this book has inspired me to find more of her work.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. This has such a gorgeous cover! I've actually been wanting to read this one since it was added to Goodreads. I hope the waitlist for it at my library won't be too long, it sounds amazing.